Katsuyori Shibata competed in his first competitive bout since 2017 at Wrestle Kingdom 16. At the show, he faced his LA Dojo student, Ren Narita.
Heading into the match, Shibata's opponent was yet to be revealed. However, the Tokyo Dome audience got treated to quite the surprise as Narita made his way out to the ring.
Ren Narita has been highly influenced by Katsuyori Shibata. Over at NJPW STRONG, the Young Lion has been pushed as the latter's protege. Narita's appearance at Wrestle Kingdom 16 also marked his return to Japan.
Prior to the start of the contest, Shibata changed the rules of the match to a regular pro wrestling bout. The singles contest itself was pretty physical.
Both men had several grappling exchanges throughout the match, but The Wrestler dominated the majority of it.
In the closing stages, Narita was fired up and tried to rally a comeback. However, Shibata eventually choked his LA Dojo student, which led to a Penalty Kick and a three-count.
The match featured quite a fast pace and was brilliant in terms of grappling. Nonetheless, it was great to see Katsuyori Shibata back in action and back to his winning ways once again.
Katsuyori Shibata's last competitive match was against Kazuchika Okada in 2017
At Sakura Genesis 2017, Katsuyori Shibata competed in a singles match against Kazuchika Okada. During the contest, Shibata headbutted Okada, which eventually led to him suffering from a subdural hematoma.
Since the incident, he hadn't competed inside the ring. However, The Wrestler was physically involved in an angle that saw KENTA turn heel and join the Bullet Club.
At the G1 Climax 29 final, Katsuyori Shibata rushed to the ring to attack KENTA. But the Bullet Club had other plans and took out The Wrestler.
On the final night of the G1 Climax 31 in October 2021, Shibata wrestled Zack Sabre Jr. in a five-minute UWF rules exhibition that ended in a draw. Later, Shibata addressed the crowd and said he would return to the ring for a proper wrestling match, which proved to be true just a few hours ago as of this writing.
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